Cocoa Police Chief Mike Cantaloupe to Retire Dec. 31, Commander John Hankins Will Serve as Interim Chief

By  //  December 21, 2020

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began his law enforcement career at Cocoa Police Department in December 1990

With the retirement of Cocoa Police Chief Mike Cantaloupe, above, on December 31, City Manager Stockton Whitten has appointed Commander John Hankins to serve as Interim Chief of Police during the recruitment of the next chief. (CPD image)

Commander John Hankins to serve as Interim Chief of Police during the recruitment of the next chief

BREVARD COUNTY • COCOA, FLORIDA – With the retirement of Cocoa Police Chief Mike Cantaloupe on December 31, Cocoa City Manager Stockton Whitten has appointed Commander John Hankins to serve as Interim Chief of Police during the recruitment of the next chief.

Chief Cantaloupe and Interim Chief-Designate Hankins have already begun the transition process.

Cantaloupe began his law enforcement career with the Cocoa Police Department in December of 1990 when he started in the patrol division on the midnight shift. He was selected for the street crimes unit, where he served for about two years.

Cantaloupe also spent several years working as a detective in the Criminal Investigations Division, the Special Investigations Unit and was also assigned to the Brevard County Drug Task Force for two years.

He later went back into the patrol division where he became a field training officer and served on the SWAT team. During his tenure, he served as a corporal, sniper and team leader.

He was later promoted to sergeant and assumed responsibility for special investigations.

Cocoa Police Commander John Hankins will serve as Interim Chief of Police during the recruitment of the next chief. (CPD image)

Cantaloupe has served in nearly all capacities in the department including patrol watch commander, SWAT commander, and professional compliance commander before becoming chief in 2014.

In his role as chief of police, Cantaloupe brought with him a passion for community policing and outreach programs. His efforts have helped contribute to the city’s lowest crime rate on record since 1998.

Under his leadership since 2014, the overall crime rate dropped from a rate of 7.9 in 2014 to a record low 5.8 in 2019. The crime rate data for 2020 will not be calculated until April 2021. These numbers represent the number of crimes per 100 residents.

Other noteworthy accomplishments include the implementation of body-worn cameras for every line police officer and sergeant, which has improved accountability and reduced the number of overall citizen complaints.

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Cantaloupe embraced emerging technologies through an increased online presence using multiple social media platforms to improve two-way communication and the delivery of and accessibility to public information about the agency and its activities.

He also established community partnerships with faith leaders, educators, business owners and civic groups that helped foster stronger and more positive community relationships.

Cantaloupe expanded victim services, community outreach and crime prevention efforts. He implemented a more holistic approach to problem-solving policing through the incorporation of code enforcement officers as part of the police department’s operational function.

He and his leadership team led the department through two successful re-accreditation evaluations, participated in the implementation of a citizen police advisory committee, and worked with the City and its partners to begin the development of a 5-year strategic plan for the agency.

Cantaloupe credits his successes to the support from city leadership, his staff, and the community as a whole.

“As Chief Cantaloupe embarks on the next chapter of his life, I want to recognize him for his many years of dedication and leadership to the great City of Cocoa,” said Mayor Mike Blake.

“As Chief Cantaloupe embarks on the next chapter of his life, I want to recognize him for his many years of dedication and leadership to the great City of Cocoa,” said Mayor Mike Blake.

“His more than 30 years of service to our citizens has set the standard for Cocoa. May we continue to live up to the example he has set for our community. Throughout his career, Chief Cantaloupe exemplified a tireless work ethic and professionalism and on behalf of everyone at the City of Cocoa, I would like to thank him for all he has done for our community and wish him the best of luck in all of his future endeavors.”

City Manager Stockton Whitten said although he only worked with Cantaloupe for a short time, he could see the substantial impact he made on the Cocoa community.

“Chief Cantaloupe dedicated 30 years of his life serving the citizens of this community and he did it with pride and honor,” said Whitten.

“He was passionate about community policing and creating an atmosphere of trust and support throughout the community. His impact will forever be remembered and I wish him all the best in his future endeavors.”

“Although I only worked with Chief Cantaloupe for a short time, I could see the substantial impact he made on the Cocoa community,” said City Manager Stockton Whitten.

Hankins has been with the city since January 1991 and has served in leadership positions for more than 24 years.

During his tenure, he has served in nearly all aspects of the department’s operations and was an integral part in raising the professional standards of the agency through achieving its first accreditation in 2006.

Hankins graduated from the University of Central Florida, and like Cantaloupe, also graduated from the University of Louisville Southern Police Institute’s Command Officer Development Course.

Up until his appointment as interim chief, Hankins served as operations commander.

Chief Cantaloupe’s retirement will be effective on December 31st.

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